Dead People Don't Sin!
by Dave Mann
Romans 1-5 is all about setting up the radical truth that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our own works. It’s all about God’s action, not ours. We simply respond in grateful trust.
This is good news! But there is a problem. The humanly logical conclusion is this: “Great! If I’m saved by grace, I’ll just keep on sinning and God can keep on forgiving!” Paul states the question of that flawed logic in Romans 6:1: Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
How does Paul respond to that irreverent but reasonable critique of his main point of Romans – saved by grace? Paul does NOT say, “Oh, I didn’t really mean we are totally saved by grace. God does most of the work, but you still need to work at your salvation a little bit.”
NO! Paul does not backtrack. He does not try to accommodate what he wants to say to a skeptical worldview that does not take into consideration the power of Christ to connect us to himself through baptism. Paul’s divinely inspired answer is, “You are connected to Christ in baptism. Therefore you are dead with Christ. And dead people do not keep on sinning.” Paul reiterates this answer multiple times. In these 11 verses, Paul makes reference to death and crucifixion at least 15 times! He wants us to get the point.
By baptism, in some miraculous divine action, we are united with Christ. When Christ died on the cross, we who have been baptized have been connected to Jesus’ death. So, when Christ died, we also died! Sin has no power over dead people! We the baptized, we the connected-to-Christ people, we the ones who are supernaturally glued to the Righteous One are no longer under the control of sin. Get baptized and then continue in a life of sin? That doesn’t make sense! It is unthinkable that Jesus the Righteous (and those connected to Him) would have anything to do with sin. We have died and been raised again in Christ.
Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
SPOKEN PRAYER: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.